East Indian food is best described as natural, sweet and simple food reflecting cultural and geographical influences, along with the heritage of the East India region. The flavor is really distinct. The influence of European explorers and Muslim settlers resulted in an emergence of exclusive flavors in the East Indian cuisine due to fusion of various cultures.
Historical influences on East Indian Food
Spanish and Portuguese explorers were the first ones to take Indian spices to Europe in 15-16 centuries. Dutch East India Company and British East India Company, which were established in 17th century extensively made use of East Indian spices and produced them in huge amounts for sale. This resulted in the emergence of European influence in the local East Indian Cuisine.
Popular Foods in East Indian Cuisine
• Due to abundant rainfall in the region, rice is grown in massive amounts, and therefore constitutes a large part of local diet.
• In coastal west Bengal, fish is consumed in abundance. Due to close proximity with the coastal areas, seafood is a very important East Indian food item. Fish recipes are highly popular in East Indian cuisine with a number of variations. Fish curries are in huge demand in east India. Also, lightly spiced steamed fish and nicely flavored fried fish are served largely in east India. Fish pakodas are considered to be a wonderful snack item in East Indian food category, which are extensively served with dipping sauce and chutney.
• Beef and pork are also considered to be popular East Indian food items.
• Apart from rice and meat products, sweets are also one of the essential East Indian foods, which are largely served in various celebrations and religious ceremonies. East India is very well known for its fine cakes which have a European influence.
Foods and Cooking Methods of East Indian Cuisine
East Indian food is light in nature due to abundant growth of fruits and vegetables, influenced by climatic conditions, and huge popularity of seafood due to close proximity with coastal areas. The spices used in preparing East Indian foods are light, thus coming up with less spicy, yet appealing dishes.
The cooking strategies adopted in East India help in augmenting the natural flavor of the dishes. The flavors are blended in a gentle manner while following steaming, boiling and stir-frying methods of cooking. Most of the East Indian food items are served with rice as it is a staple food of East India due to huge production of rice because of rainy and moist climatic conditions